Residents Find Landfill Alternative

Residents of the Daisy Vestry community met with members of the Pine Belt Regional Waste Authority Monday night to find out if the Perry County landfill will accept waste from Jackson County.

Two weeks ago, BFI filed a proposal with the county planning commission. It asked for a permit to build a landfill on 1,500 acres of land in northwest Jackson County. The residents hope this alternative plan with Perry County will keep a new landfill out of their neighborhood.

Ken Smith represents the Perry County landfill and says they'd gladly accept household waste from Jackson County. The Pine Belt Regional Waste Authority has been open since 1997.

Phillip Howard has lived in the area for more than 30 years. If the landfill comes, it will only be a mile from his home. He says he likes the Perry County idea much better.

"If he says he can do it, I have to believe him that he can. So if he can, why do we need this massive, triple the size of anything in the state, installed within 20 miles from the coast," Howard said.

The Pine Belt landfill is publicly owned versus privately owned BFI. That means the public controls what goes in and out of the landfill. And if environmental concerns arise about the landfill, the public will be the first to find out.

"Whereas if you want to find out if BFI or some other corporation is guilty of something, you have to check DEQ's records. My life's an open book all the time. And I don't run from that. If I can't stand up to investigation, examination, then they need to get rid of me," said Smith.

So far, residents say BFI has not said whose waste will go into the proposed Jackson County landfill. The Citizens for Responsible Waste Management hope their group's efforts will inform the public about why Daisy Vestry residents are against the Red Creek landfill.

Charles Keith, former mayor of Gautier, leads the group.

"I want the public to know while we're opposed to this we're still for responsible waste collection."

Keith says Pine Belt's offer is both an economic and environmentally sound option for Jackson County.

BFI will meet with the Jackson County planning commission in a public meeting on March 19th.

By: Jennifer Holliman